Poll: “Majority of white adults say they have no religion and the number is set to rise”

Poll: “Majority of white adults say they have no religion and the number is set to rise” January 18, 2016

The Daily Mail reports of a new YouGov poll:

The majority of white Britons say they have no religion, a new study shows.

Research reveals that 46 per cent of adults of all races identify as having no religion, compared with the 42 per cent who considered themselves Christian.

The dwindling number of Christians could be down to the growing divide between lay followers and church leaders, who experts believe are becoming ‘more set apart from society’.

The YouGov survey, carried out by team from Lancaster University, also shows the number of people who consider themselves non-religious is rising with each generation.

Among the over-60s of all races, there are nearly twice as many Christians as non-religious respondents (classified as ‘nones’); the numbers are equal for those aged between 40 and 59; and for the under-40s there are nearly twice as many ‘nones’ (56 per cent) as Christians (31 per cent).

The survey of 1,500 people indicates a significant rise in the number of ‘nones’ since 2013, when they represented 37% per cent of respondents.

The findings support the British Social Attitudes survey which found 51 per cent reporting no religion in 2013, against the census of 2011 which reported a lower proportion.

By Zoe Margolis [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Zoe Margolis [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the take away quotes is from Professor Linda Whitehead (University of Lancaster, Sociology) who declared that “No religion is the new norm”. This comes as little surprise to those who have their fingers on the pulse of UK society. There has been a morph towards perhaps not so much strident atheism, but certainly at least religious apathy. Yes, there is also a growing number of anti-religionists, but “nones” come in all shapes and sizes, including spiritualists. Indeed, only 13% of the “nones” apparently self-identify as having views that could be described as anti-religious, whilst 11% are spiritual.

All told, though, there is certainly a societal shift going on in Western democracies which looks rather like a dwindling of the church.

I would be interested in seeing how it plays out in non-white communities with a closer look at the stats. Is Christianity tenciously holding on in black comunities, or is Islam linked with migration levels in some way with Asian and Middle Eastern communities? Or, indeed, do Sikhism and Hinduism still play an important role for a statistically significant proportion?

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